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US Explorer Mark Dickey Rescued from Turkey’s Third Deepest Cave

Mark Dickey, a US explorer, has been successfully rescued from Turkey’s third deepest cave after being trapped for over a week due to stomach problems. The challenging underground rescue mission involved more than 150 individuals and was one of the largest and most complex operations of its kind.

Located in a remote area of southern Turkey, the Morca Cave reaches depths of nearly 1.3 kilometers (0.8 miles) below the ground. Mark Dickey was safely brought out of the cave at 00:37 local time (21:37 GMT), as announced by the Turkish Caving Federation.

Carl Heitmeyer of the New Jersey Initial Response Team, led by Mr. Dickey, confirmed his rescue and expressed gratitude to everyone involved in the operation. Mr. Dickey himself shared his thoughts on his harrowing experience, recalling moments when he feared for his life as his condition deteriorated.

Mr. Dickey’s parents, Debbie and Andy Dickey, expressed their immense relief and joy at their son’s safe rescue, thanking the international caving community for their support and prayers.

Mark Dickey, an experienced caver with over 20 years of expertise, had been leading a team on a mission to map a new passage in the cave when he began experiencing gastrointestinal bleeding. After receiving a blood transfusion, he was carefully strapped to a stretcher and slowly brought to safety, navigating through narrow rock tunnels where explosives were necessary.

The rescue effort included personnel from multiple countries, such as Croatia and Hungary, who flew to Turkey to assist. Mr. Dickey’s fiancée, Jessica Van Ord, played a vital role in the ordeal, initially remaining in the cave with him before eventually making her way out.

In a video message from inside the cave, Mr. Dickey expressed his gratitude for the swift response of the Turkish government in providing the necessary medical supplies, which he believed saved his life.

Mark Dickey, hailing from New Jersey, has been actively involved in cave rescue operations for a decade, serving as an instructor with the US National Cave Rescue Commission and coordinating international exchange programs for the organization. He had been leading the expedition to the Morca Cave since the end of August, with assistance from the Hungarian Cave Rescue Service.